....that a small change in plans for them that seems harmless can make a big difference to someone else (especially ME!)
I'm one who has to have everything planned out and in order in order for me to function at my best, so when someone says they need their cupcakes (which I don't charge for as I'm getting my experience right now) on Monday the 9th, changing at the last minute to Sunday afternoon really throws me off! I am also a nail tech and have a salon at my home so my Saturdays are reserved for nail clients. But then, the nail clients don't realize that being even a few minutes late, or deciding at the last minute to add an extra service can throw my whole schedule off, and my entire day can become chaos.
My husband and I had planned to take our first swing dancing class on Friday to celebrate our 21st anniversary, and because of these "small" changes to my schedule, I had to stay home, get fondant made and colored, get my salon in order for Sat. for my sister who hadn't even planned to have her nails done, but changed her mind at the last minute; was supposed to be just visiting so I booked no other clients.
We go to church on Sundays, so I just wasn't willing to take the chance on doing the cupcakes when we got home, then find out there might be needed even earlier than stated on Sunday.
To top it all off my husband agreed to going to dinner with friends on Sat. night, so I ended up staying up half the night getting the cupcakes finished after we got home.
I was also irritated at my sister that she's been planning for over two months to have me do a baby shower cake for one of her co-workers and gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted, except not really. They don't know the sex of the baby so it has to be kept gender neutral, and she only needed it for about 20 people. So on Friday I bought two six inch pans and decided to do two 8" and two 6" cakes. When she got here Sat. she decided it needed to be bigger.....two 10" and two 8". I told her that was way too much cake for 20 or less people, but she wanted them to be able to "have some to take home".....which is totally fine, IF I WERE CHARGING FOR IT!!! and if I hadn't already bought the smaller pans. So I told her we were doing two tens and two sixes and that was that. Then she told me she didn't like the bright pastel polka dots I'd planned on the cake, wanted stripes too....but no fondant. Well, I can't get nice straight stripes with bc yet, and I don't want this cake to look ameteurish. What she really liked as we were going through my saved pictures were all the girly cakes with flowers, ruffles, PINK, etc. Can't do that....we don't know what the baby is!
And as a final blow, I had made a cake Fri. night with Sugarshacks icing and was finally able to achieve a a beautiful, smooth finish, and as she was eating a piece said, "you're not planning to use THIS icing, are you??" Well YES I AM, AS A MATTER OF FACT!!! Said it was too sweet, that she wanted it more like a whipped icing, but I don't have refridgerator space for that, nor can I smooth that especially on a tiered cake like Sharon's bc!!! At least not yet. Oh, and I was going to do WASC, but she doesn't like that, so I have to use something else. You know, like HER favorite, French Vanilla. So I'll just use the WASC recipe with French Vanilla cake and flavoring and call it good. As I was making the cupcakes tiedyed that day she also decided she wanted the shower cake tiedyed too.....but then as I was swirling them decided not to. Then as they came out of the oven decided they really WERE pretty afterall......OH MY GOSH......talk about a bridezilla??!! And this is my sister so I'm stuck with her for life! And this is for a FREE baby shower cake!!! So she will get what she gets period. This is, btw, the sister I made the pillow and tiara cake for in my photos.......now you can understand why! (and she's 35 yrs. old.....too old to be acting like such a spoiled brat in my opinion.) She also thought my turquoise cake w the red roses was ugly, and she hated the black accents with it.
I'm about ready to tell her to call the lady who made her wedding cake and have her do it. Of course, she'll have to pay for it, and it will be only be a one layer but I don't need this headache. I don't need it from paying people either, and I really don't know if I can ever do this for $$$. I don't like being bullied. I understand that people should get what they want when they are paying for it, but growing up with a sister like this I know for a fact that some people are NEVER happy no matter what. I could do exactly what she asked for, and she would still find something wrong with it. I absolutely HATE to do her nails, but I do get paid for that, and she would NEVER find another tech that would put up with her little temper tantrums. But that's a rant for a different forum!!! Thanks for letting me vent! I should be good to go until about this time next month!
so sorry you have to deal with people like this. There is an easy fix though. Just say "NO".
It's learning not to feel guilty for saying it that is the hard part.
Even a free service shouldn't be allowed to walk all over you.
You and your marriage will be better off for it in the long run, and if you plan on ever doing this full time (the cake side), you better learn quickly not to let clients run all over you.
I'm sorry you have had such a hard time lately. Please don't take this the wrong way but you really need to learn how to say "no". It's ok to say no sometimes. We can't live our lives around other people's desires and schedules. Please stand up to your sister especially. As my son's kindergarten teacher says when gives out snacks or delegates activites: "You get what you get and you don't get upset"! I love that saying and it definitely applies in this situation. She should be happy with whatever she gets since it's free.
A day earlier does make a big difference- but people that don't do cakes, think that it only takes 30 minutes and Viola you have a cake! When they change the plan, you have a right to say yes or no-
The biggest problem I see is "free". You downplay yourself by saying that you are doing it for experience so it is "free". You allow them to see it as doing YOU a favor by letting you do their cakes. You are getting all the PIA attitude that other bakers get- only you are getting it without getting paid... Get thru this and don't offer to do anymore totally free cakes.
If you don't feel like you are good enough yet- then look at different places and charge what the nearest to your level charges. I.e. if you are at walmart level- charge what they charge- if you are at a certain bakery level- do that. Even if you only get ONE order- that paid order will feel soooo much better!
I understand that people should get what they want when they are paying for it...
True but even paying customers need limits. Nobody has the right to walk all over you and you control your business and decisions - not your clients. If you timed everything out to have delivery on that Monday, it's OK to say that. Especially if they're getting it for FREE. The truth is, you find yourself in these binds because you let it happen. I say that with cake love.
I hope you and your husband were able to reschedule that class! Sounds fun.
I hate to say it, but you are what I would call a door mat. Your sister is walking all over you and you are letting her do it. She said do what you want.. so do it. She isn't paying you, and I know family is family and we are stuck with them, BUT you teach people how to treat you.. and you are teaching her that she can say anything and get what she wants.
You seem like a very nice person.. nice people can find it hard to stick up for themselves because they don't want to disappoint others. There's a difference though between being nice and being so accomodating that you give up control to others.
I am a nice person.. I help people when I can and try very hard to assure that they get what they want.. however I have no problems setting boundaries (nicely).
Tell your sister that you are doing this for her for free and you will bring what you want to bring. The minute she wants to pay you for this cake she can start telling you how to make it OR.. you'll gladly give her a list of ingredients and supplies (including pans and bags and tips and fondant) so she can make exactly what she wants. Let her know how much this is costing you for you to make HER a cake to bring to a shower. People have no idea.. they see 88 cent cake mixes and $2 cans of icing and think.. it must be super cheap to make cakes.
Oh.. and you have to stop giving your work away.. people will get use to that and no one will want to buy a cake from you when you do feel ready. I don't know where you are in the country, so a licensed home kitchen may not be in your future, but I'd buy some dummy cakes and practice with those until you feel you are up to par. I looked at your pictures though.. and you are off to a great start!!
OH OH OH! I have one of those sisters! She likes to call me at 12:30 and need a cake by 6:00. Not just any cake, one with this and that, and with this flavor and don't do this. Etc etc etc. While I COULD tell her no, I don't because she buys me good cake stuff- 20 lbs of fondant etc! Wooo Hooo! What I tell her is, "Ok no problem. THIS is the way it will be for the time allowed." I make her understand that no, there is NOT time to make an elaborate gumpaste figure. So far, it has worked out well. (except when she hovers!)
I know I'm a total pushover, I always have been. You know how there are dominant and submissive puppies in a litter? Well, I'm one of the submissive ones!!! I truly believe you're just born that way. I definitely stand up for myself much more now than I used to, but those dominant people always know how to be stay on top. I'm a people pleaser, but it's obvious that the only ones that's hurting is my family and I. I guess it takes a few good wakeup calls to really realize that.
Also, because of my personality being such as it is, I won't charge for a cake done from my home since I don't have a licensed kitchen. We will be moving next summer so I won't have one put in, although I do have the location for one. I just don't want to pay for it, work for it to get it installed, etc. then move. I could use our church kitchen but I'd be there at all sorts of weird hours, and all the time. I'm very meticulous and slow, which is why I enjoy doing cakes so much more than nails; I can do it on MY time, not someone else's, (mostly!) and no one is sitting around waiting for me to get finished. Something will have to change though because I do deserve to be respected more than I am. And I know I've allowed it all along, but had a real revelation in church just yesterday about this very thing and I need to stop degrading myself.
Thanks everyone for the inspiration!
There you go girl!! Keep thinking like this and the tide will change. I wish you luck with your move.. eventhough it's a while off. I'd talk to your church and see if they would mind you using their kitchen and if it is actually inspected.. not all church kitchens are. If it is.. the process should be pretty simple for you to work from there and start getting something back for the wonderful cakes you are making. You definitely deserve to not be walked on. Good luck with it all.
NO BULLIES! YOU GO GIRL!!!
Repeat after me: "I'm sorry but my schedule does not permit changes/additions at this late date/hour." Whether it's a salon customer you don't have time to add a pedicure on for, or changes to the date of delivery. Even when people are paying I wouldn't allow changes like that... for free, not a CHANCE. My customers are informed that no changes can be made to their orders less than 7 days out. And since I don't charge family and friends, they don't get to dictate anything except maybe flavor (maybe), unless I am feeling generous.
I looked at your cakes and they are all lovely. I think your work is great! But I know what you mean about being slow when you're new, I'm in the same boat.
look at your face in the mirror...are the words "sucker" imprinted on your forehead?
now turn around...is the word "welcome" imprinted across your back?
hell no! stop being a doormat!!!
people treat you exactly the way you let them. JUST SAY NO, NANCY REAGAN...JUST SAY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Wow!!! Your post could have been written by me...several years ago. I'm 41 years old and I'm proud to say that I finally learned to say No. It wasn't easy. I carried a lot of guilt...at first. But once you get the hang of it, you feel 100 pounds lighter from the weight of guilt and burden being lifted from your shoulders.
Luckily I learned to say No before I started decorating cakes. And I must say, it makes a world of difference. I work full time and have two young children. I try to confine my caking to weekends, although I do sometimes put in a late night during the week. Since I am not licensed I only bake for family and specific coworkers, therefore they are fully aware that I work full time and have young children. I am also new and slow and obsess with details so that I probably do a single cake in the time it takes a pro to do three! And besides, I'm doing this for fun so I don't want to introduce stress into the mix. The main reason why I don't think I'll be doing any wedding cakes any time soon.
If I have to tell someone no, for whatever reason, I simply tell them that unfortunately I am already committed, but to please ask again the next time they need a cake. If I am telling someone no because they are making a last minute request I also let them know that due to my work schedule I am really limited to how many cakes I can make so please try to ask at least a month or more in advance. (I've even told coworkers no because they are PIA's and I just don't want to deal with them. They don't know that's the real reason so no harm done).
You'd be AMAZED at how understanding everyone has been. In fact, I had a last minute request recently and when I told her I was already committed she said that it wasn't a problem and that she really needed to work on getting her life more organized and doing things ahead of time!
You owe it to yourself to be in command of your own ship and sail it in the direction you wish to head, rather than letting others steer you. You won't regret it.
We're here to support you. Feel free to vent or ask for advice.
As i was reading your post, I was getting dizzy reading how you were running around in circles trying to keep everyone ELSE happy, regardless of how inconsiderate they were being and no regard for if this was making YOU happy or not.
NO. It's only a 2-letter word and it's the hardest one that WOMEN have to learn to say. Because as little girls, we're taught to be NICE, and to be CONSIDERATE and not to hurt anyone's FEEEEEEEEEEEEELINNNNNNNNNGS!
And then we go home and scream at our husband and kick our dog because of all the pent up stress and aggravation we kept inside as we bent over backwards to keep OTHER people happy ... just like mommy taught us ..... that's how "nice little girls" are suppose to act.
There's a sign in my doctor's office that says if you are more than 15 minutes late, you may be asked to reschedule. I appreciate that sign because it means that MY appointment won't be delayed because of some bozo who thought everyone had nothing else to do but sit around and wait for HIM to finally get his act together and show up.
sometimes family is worse than paying customers, as we tend to take more crap from them than we would anyone else! Take a deep breath, and dont sweat it.
Good luck. Happy balancing.
Callyssa. You are a personality type called Melancholy/Phlegmatic --truly, it is described as a "meticulous people pleaser." There's nothing wrong with that, the world needs people like you. However, there is a wonderful book out there for you called: Boundaries - When to Say Yes and How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life." It is written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. My church teaches a course based on this book and is one of those things that can truly be life-changing. Your life sounds jammed packed full, so I know it's hard to carve out time to take care of yourself, but please try to look it up out on Amazon or Christian Books website and read the excerpt from it... it might just bless you greatly.
Here's what you have to do while your doing your sister nails, tell her that you are doing the cake just they way you have it planned.... if she doesn't like it, to take her cake decorating skills and do it herself. also you could tell her she asked you to make a free cake and free cakes don't get any free changes......UUUUUGGG sisters drive me crazy......so self invovled.
I have to also say that i quit my really good paying job because i could not stand the way people treat other people. So now I am teaching jewelry making and making my cakes.
it has given me the right not to have to put up with people treating me in a way i don't approve. ie. i just had a customer that i did not care for so the next time she calls i will be to busy to make her cake. just to say it in short" i made her 12x14" 2 layer cake with toba garretts chocolate buttercream frosting and a 3x5 in 4 layer cake and she said she wanted her 50.00 worth of cake. (its the garden cake i just did in my pics.) She said she could get that size cake a the store for 13.99. Need i say more!!
My sister tried pulling that "customer is always right" and "give the customer what they want" regardless. I told her that I am just as human as they are, I have my limits and limitations, and the answer is "sorry, but I just can't. Wish I could, but I can't."
If custoemr (even a paying one) calls me on Friday, originally wanting their cake for Sunday, then changes their mind and wants it on Saturday, I say I have to check my schedule to see if it can be done. If I have other plans, wedding cake deliveries, etc. and i'm booked, then the answer is no. If they choose to go to Publix, then so be it.
Your sister needs to learn that your time and services are to be RESPECTED, not EXPECTED.
Just my two cents.
My sister tried pulling that "customer is always right" and "give the customer what they want" regardless.
I wonder if the people who keep spouting off with these lines would feel the same way if THEY were the ones paying the bills and investing the money in THEIR business!
Tell your sister to open a grocery store ... we'll all be over and we expect her to give us what we want ... at the price we want ... "regardless"! Because gosh darn gee, WE are always right .... right?
Since you are not charging anyone $$$, it becomes your gift, RIGHT. Then you have to let them know that since it is your gift, you choose the design that YOU want and if they want something different, the price becomes $$$$. As far as someone changing not only the time of the event, but the day, I would let them know that because of your schedule, you cannot give the cupcakes that you were planning to decorate for the original date and time. Just like making and decorating cakes takes practice, so does telling people NO. You are entitled to make the cakes to your standards and do not deserve to be bullied into doing someone else's ideas. If there ideas are so great, then let them decorate them.
IThe minute she wants to pay you for this cake she can start telling you how to make it OR.. you'll gladly give her a list of ingredients and supplies (including pans and bags and tips and fondant) so she can make exactly what she wants. Let her know how much this is costing you for you to make HER a cake to bring to a shower. People have no idea.. they see 88 cent cake mixes and $2 cans of icing and think.. it must be super cheap to make cakes.
I agree 100% with this entire post except for one thing: don't EVER give anyone - even a sister - borrow your pans, tips, bags, etc. because if you don't get them back you have to replace them and supplies aren't cheap. And believe me, you'd think you'd get everything back from your sister, right? That doesn't always happen - she keeps forgetting, then she wants to clean them before returning, then she can't find them...yada yada yada.
Now...I may have read the post wrong. If it meant to include the pans, tips, etc. on the LIST of things the sister needs to buy to make her own cake, I completely agree. Great post!
Look at the title you gave this post.......YOU have to *teach* people to respect you! Like others have said, you need to grow a backbone (This is being said in the most loving way possible).
Tell her! Tell her NO! Let her know that is not going to work! Tell her if she wants control of what is baked, how it's decorated etc then she can PAY full price for it like any onther customer!
Come on now hon, let's see you grow that backbone
Oh yes newmansmom2004.. I meant all of that on the list of stuff she can buy HERSELF to make the cake in question.
I am just getting started with cakes too and I see this as a problem for myself. But I read on a cake site somewhere that if you want to be doing this as a business, you should be in that frame of mind and you should get everyone around you in that frame of mind too. It's okay to give a cake away for free or at a discount because you choose too, but every cake, regardless of who it is for is worth a price and you should state up front, that you're willing to set aside the time to do it (even for family) but the cost will be (fill in the blank). When it comes time for the person to pick up the cake, you can then say I decided to give you a discount/do it for free this time.
On a personal note, I don't care how experienced you are as an anything in life, there is always room to learn something more, so it's always a learning experience. We all know the more you practice, the better you get, but you can always be better than you were. So, for the rest of your caking life, you'll be practicing (as will I) and together we'll get through this whole thing and learn to set tighter boundaries until we get to the point where no doesn't come with huge guilty feelings.
Oh yes newmansmom2004.. I meant all of that on the list of stuff she can buy HERSELF to make the cake in question.
Awesome - I think your advice was right on!
First of all you shouldn't do it all for FREE....even if you don't feel your work is good enough to charge for then you can tell them it will be x amount of dollars for the supplies. They would still be getting your services for free but you wouldn't be forking over good money for someone to sh*$ on you to do their bidding.
Personally I would tell your sister that she can pay for the ingredients too and if she chooses to keep changing them then she can pay for each of the changes. You would be surprised at how when someone has to pay for something they aren't quite as greedy.
My sister asked me to do a birthday cake for her daughter. She didn't want fondant because she knew it would be more expensive and even though it would have looked better she also knew that these little girls wouldn't eat it anyway. Now if I was doing it all for free then it wouldn't have been anything off her back for me to do it...
So don't be a complete doormat. Don't use "personality" as a crutch or you will end up wheelchair bound because of it. Put your big girl panties on and tell these people the rules.....pay for ingredients and no changes 1 week prior to the order due date.
I'm sorry I haven't responded back sooner! I just want to thank everyone for all the helpful advice and insight. I know exactly what's wrong with me, and the older I get the better I'm getting about taking care of ME first.....but I do still fall weak. Win....thank you for the name of that book, I will definitely be locating that. And the professional name.....that's me!
Thank you again everyone.....it's so nice to have someplace to vent, and honestly, I haven't dwelled on these things since I posted and got them out of my head. So thank you, thank you, thank you!